My laptop died a week ago. I didn’t expect it. Poor little guy wasn’t even three years old, and he just up and expired. The experts told me it was probably a logic board failure, but it could have been its hard drive.
Either way, they sent it in for repairs, and I’ve been getting by for a week now. I was told it could be another week before I get it back.
So I’ve been drifting along, from friends’ laptops to iMacs at The Post to PCs in the library, like some kind of techno-vagabond. Emails have gone unanswered, Facebook notifications have piled up, and tweets have been sent only sparingly.
My schedule, which only seems to exist in the ether, has become a memory game. And my fantasy baseball teams have been plodding along with no manager, allowing Coco Crisp to remain in the starting lineup despite hitting 2-for-17 so far.
But this involuntary unplugging hasn’t been a total catastrophe. I’ve taken it as an opportunity to explore my habits and try to improve the way I do things. For example, when I write a paper (or a column), I get easily distracted by the infinite annals of information available on the Internet.
One minute I’ll be writing a coherent sentence, the next I’ll be reading an article about Asdrubal Cabrera’s new contract extension or looking up an appropriately alliterative alternative for “synonym.”
Not having a laptop has made those distractions easier to avoid — when I’m borrowing someone’s computer, I don’t want to monopolize it — but the temptation is still there.
I considered writing this column on a typewriter and turning it in on paper, but my editor wasn’t in favor.
Because of my laptop’s untimely quietus, I have had to figure out what to do with all the time I’d generally just burn on the Internet. Most of that time has been easily absorbed by my Kindle, which I’m afraid might have become just as dangerously distracting — though in a more intellectually advantageous package — as my laptop was. My “Now Reading” folder has increased to six books even though I’ve finished two in the last week.
That’s OK because we’re only in week three, but once the workload starts to pile up, I’m afraid I might be in trouble. I just started Stephen King’s 1,000-page Under the Dome while working my way through Orson Scott Card’s Ender series and attempting to introduce myself to Thomas Pynchon through V.
For the most part, not having a laptop has only led to minor inconveniences like not benching Doug Fister or forgetting what random things are on my schedule.
When I really need a computer, I can get to one. In some cases, it’s even been beneficial — it’s been easier than ever to ignore Facebook event invitations.
But a few times this week, I really just wanted to watch something on Netflix or read reviews of last week’s incredible Community episode without leaving my bed, and that’s just not something I can do without my trusty, old laptop.
At least, I thought it was trusty.
Joe Fox is a junior studying online journalism and a columnist for The Post. You can try to send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org